WWhen Stormzy went to the Glastonbury pyramid stage last Friday in a Banksy-designed stab-resistant vest, it was called "the banner of a divided and frightened nation".
Hailed for his bold and public statement on knife violence and the systems around him, the words "knife crime" appeared behind him during his performance, and an excerpt from David Lammy's speech on the issue was published. . The Labor MP for Tottenham then tweeted about it after the rapper's set.
According to fashion psychologist Shakaila Forbes-Bell, Stormzy's vest can be seen as a cry to the public that "young black men literally live in a war zone." Given that the rapper has "positioned himself as a figurehead of the young black community of London, victim of knife crimes," she said, clothing could "be seen as a form of solidarity. visual [with] these victims and their families in the same way that the hoodie was used after the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida. "
But it is a disputed territory. Apart from those who use provocative attire as a social commentary, fashion brands design vests with proof-of-blows, or clothes that mimic them. This month, the brand Boramy Viguier launched his Atlas Organza Utility vest, which adopts a similar aesthetic. Off-White, the work of "the most prominent fashion designer," Virgil Abloh, launched a functional vest earlier this year, which also seems imitating. The luxury online retailer Farfetch sells versions of the Sankuanz brand. On Etsy you will find a shop specializing in the manufacture of illegal designer bulletproof vests.
Military-inspired fashion has a long history, with surges in popular culture. Parkas peaked during Britpop and identity plates and combat trousers were popular during the Gulf War. In 2018, the dark trend of "warcore", a quieter game on the "normcore", lifted its head with riot shields and balaclavas.
It has even happened that the bulletproof vest has almost generalized. The hero of the 24th, Jack Bauer, quoted by the New York Times as a source of inspiration for style in 2010, added that the macho fashions with "some shock or aggression" seemed to be " the inevitable, though disturbing, expression of a state of defensiveness intensified recently by concerns about terrorism ".
Fashion resulting from violent phenomena is a thorny issue, especially amid rumors of increased sales of real dagger vests among young Londoners.
Tony Glenville, a fashion historian, says he raises questions about "the definition of inappropriate appropriation". For him, "what has a real function in a dangerous situation is not to look like our everyday outfit".
It may be inevitable that one person's political statement becomes the trend of another, no matter how problematic. "Such clothes will always spread in the masses and become more" style "than" statement "," suggests Forbes-Bell, who suggests that it is related to "the psychological appeal of uniforms" .
Studies have shown, she says, "that the attractiveness and authority associated with uniforms lead individuals to higher levels of compliance" and that they are due to the high politicization of our time .
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